Lies Leaders Believe
Have you ever known someone who not only bought into untruths in the marketplace of ideas, but have told them so often that they actually believe it themselves?
I know of a person – very smart and gifted – who has sabotaged his career and personal life because he convinced himself to conduct his affairs a certain way that he was against for so long. Once he started to carry out these lies and defend them, his trajectory came crashing down. Even sadder, he cannot see how he has blinded himself to solid leadership truths in both work and personal life.
So many leaders, and so many lies. I always say that truths and principles are timeless, and the application of such is what changes. Truth never does. But those who buy the lies to justify behavior or expedite careers bring grief to those around them.
Here are some common lies that leaders believe, as well as a commentary statement debunking them:
“You’ve got to cheat to get ahead.” That would come as a shock to Howard Schultz of Starbucks, noted in studies and polls for being the most ethical CEO. Same for Kat Cole, chief executive of Cinnabon, who worked hard to learn the business and attain major influence in her industry.
“Everyone else does it.” The phrase “everyone” justifies their excuse to do whatever they desire. Claiming “everyone” is an embellishment, I’ve said it a million times….
“I don’t have time to plan.” Thus you reap the rewards of chaos, and having events control you.
“I don’t have time to praise.” It just tells your people that you only want to catch their mistakes, and lord your position over them.
“Their reward is their paycheck.” In the face of overwhelming data that people are looking for meaning and value in their jobs, this doesn’t hold water.
“They know they’re doing a good job; otherwise I’ll tell them.” Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson disproved that in their case studies that resulted in authoring the classic “The One Minute Manager”.
“We’re here to make margins/shareholder return.” or “This is business.” A business, comprised of talented people, gathered around a shared vision and values, to provide a good or service. Not the cold reduction of a transaction that generates the best profit margin.
“I don’t need the training.” As the decades-old saying goes: “when you’re green you’re growing, when you’re ripe you begin to rot.”
“I’m not here to make friends (or be nice).” So logically the saying “I’m here to make enemies (or be unkind)” would be true. If this was uttered in your interview, you would still be looking for a job.
“No one else but me knows how to do this.” A true statement only if you haven’t developed anyone to do so or allowed them to showcase their talents for the benefit of the organization.
Great leaders will not lie to themselves, or others. They shun these excuses of what comprises leaders, organizations, and success, and instead look to time-tested proven principles and seek to incorporate them in innovative ways.
Avoid getting sucked into these subtle, yet ineffective excuses to become more. Don’t allow historical evidence, poor track records, and peer or industry pressure to shape your belief system as a leader. Make positive and proven principles work for you, and be diligent to work hard in thinking along what truly works and makes a better influence in your world.
What lies have you believed? What truths or principles have you used to replace them with? Share them below!